Terminator Salvation

No laughs. No swinging-dick R rating (PG-13, really?). No road map for Terminator newbies to follow yet another time-travel plot. But even with a rusty script, T4 still manages to blend action and feeling. Director McG, filling the big shoes of James Cameron on the first two films (Jonathan Mostow had less luck on T3), turns Los Angeles circa 2018 into a post-Judgment Day wasteland right up Cormac McCarthy's road. Better yet, McG gets some wow effects without computer trickery, just human faces in torment. McG pulls out all the stops. Maybe too many. Recycled lines ("I'll be back") and a virtual Ah-nuld don't really help. But the actors do. As resistance leader John Connor, Christian Bale rants as only he can against machines that would drain the world of its soul (hey, that's Hollywood's job). Bale even cedes the juiciest part to Aussie newcomer Sam Worthington, who is star material as a machine with a conscience. T4 is a mixed bag, but it's not fucking amateur.

From The Archives Issue 132: April 12, 1973